When you are in the middle of an unplanned event, the stakes certainly can feel incredibly high. I am definitely glad we didn’t know that a Chicago Tribune reporter was in the house on the night that the lights went out on THE NIGHT ALIVE. The article is here:
Apparently, the city of Chicago had scheduled a black out on a performance night, however this was an unexpected surprise to us in the booth when the power went fully out mid-show – light system out, sound system out, all went completely dark with a 20’ drop into the pit downstage and actors onstage. Emergency lights popped on without much delay.
Throwing off the now useless headset, I ran to the open air sound cockpit and in the calmest voice possible (no god mic – no power) used my “tech voice” to announce technical difficulties and to have everyone stay seated while we investigated the situation. An amendment was made for anyone needing to use the restroom. “Please feel free to get up if you need to use the restroom – house management staff has flashlights if you need assistance.”
Basement office and dressing rooms were plunged into complete darkness while crew and SM staff circled up the cast. We had walkies to communicate with FOH that the SM team jumped on to figure out the next steps.
The rest is in the article, but with the audience demanding and cast game for it the crew and stage management grabbed torch flashlights and using them like improvised spots with cellphone flash lights to supplement were able to light the cast enough to continue the play. The play finished on the deck level to the side of the stage – an area without a 20 foot drop – with simulated staging like a semi-staged reading. Biggest applause of the run – audiences sure do love a “live theatre” event.
The next day’s article was a surprise to all. Really glad we didn’t know there was a reporter in the midst but a reminder that you never know who is out there!